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The Importance of Radiator Fan Relays

How To Know When It's Time For A New Radiator Fan

The majority of automobiles are dependent on a cooling system that is liquid-based. this system controls their engine’s temperature. A combination of antifreeze and water travels through the engine’s channels and soaks up heat that has been produced by the engine. The hot liquid makes its way to the radiator. the radiator moves the heat into the air in the opposite direction of the coolant. 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


The cooling system was designed for a moving vehicle. When a car is in motion it will force more air to go through the grill. When air goes through the grill, it causes the automobiles radiator to run better. When the car is idling and stationery, it relies on the cooling fan. The fan pushes air through the radiator when the vehicle is idling.


Cars today are equipped with electric fans which are controlled by relays. The relay directs the cooling fan that is in the engine. It also controls the fan for the A/C condenser and conserves electricity. An engine can be severely damaged by overheating. The fan is critical to the health of your engine and if something goes wrong with it, it must be replaced immediately.

What Does a Cooling Fan Relay Do?

The fan relay is an electromagnetic switch. It regulates the power supply to the cooling fans in the engine. It makes sure that the energy-intensive devices are only operating when they absolutely have to be.


If the temperature of the engine is so high that it is unsafe, the vehicle’s computer or temperature switch activates the cooling fan relay. When this happens, The activated relay completes a circuit. This lets an electric current flow through the relay and go to the cooling fans.


There are a few different types of relays. The difference between them involves the winding armature that completes their electrical circuit.

Open Relay

Open relays are the most common type of relay. They use an open armature. The armature closes when the relay coil is energized. When the circuit is completed, it allows the current to make its way to the fan motor.

Normally Closed Relay

This is the opposite of the normally open relay and the armature is closed. When the relay coil is energized, it opens the armature and completes the circuit.

Dual Relay

As the name would indicate, two circuits are employed in this type of relay, one uses an open armature and the other one has a closed armature. Because of this, the armatures can conduct an electric current in both open and closed positions.


How to tell if the Cooling Fan Relay has Gone Bad

The relay is an essential component of a cooling system. When it breaks or stops functioning properly, it adversely affects the fan. The rest of the cooling system and the engine will subsequently be affected.  


There are a few telltale signs that indicate your cooling fan relay needs to be replaced. 


The Engine Keeps Overheating

An overheating engine is one of the clearest signs of a bad fan relay. The problem may have been caused by a malfunctioning cooling fan relay. However, there are a lot of things that can cause an engine to overheat. You may want to check the fan relay if the engine overheating is coupled with other symptoms.


The Warning Light Illuminates

If the temperature warning light pops up on the dashboard, or if the check engine light illuminates, it may indicate the fan relays have failed. Many cars today come with sophisticated computer systems that will tell you exactly what is wrong with the engine of your vehicle.

Poor Air Conditioning Performance

If the cooling fan relay is not working, it can also have an impact on the car’s air conditioner. Generally speaking, the cooling fan also works as a condenser fan. When the A/C is on, the fan moves air across the A/C condenser, this reduces the heat in the vapor refrigerant inside.

The Cooling Fan Stops Working 

A driver may notice when the car’s cooling fans are not running. When the relay is broken, it is unable to deliver power to the cooling fans. As a result of this, the powerless fans won’t run, and the radiator won’t function properly. 

When the radiator doesn't get air from the cooling fans, it can't remove heat. The radiator begins to send hot coolant back into the engine. This makes temperatures in the engine go up hot coolant can't cool down a motor. 


The Cooling Fans Runs Even when the Car is Not Running

In some cases, the cooling fans continue to run even when the engine is not. this generally happens when there is no electrical short in the relay.


An electrical short may freeze the armature into an open position permanently. This may result in power continuing to go to the electric motor and the fans running constantly as a result.

When the fans never stop running, they will drain the battery very rapidly. A car's battery powers electrical devices such as the cooling fans. 

If the battery is drained, the car won't start and you may need a jump or a new battery.


There are many reasons cooling fan relays might stop functioning. It is a good idea to be mindful of some of the top two.


  1. The car’s computer, relay control module, or temperature switch may have failed to turn the car’s engine on and off properly. 


  1. Some cars operate by changing between circuits that have different speeds and electrical loads. This can cause damage to the fan.


How to Test the Radiator Fan Relay


There are a few different methods of determining if a bad cooling fan relay is to blame for an engine overheating. 


You can start the ignition and turn on the air conditioning then look at your fan and see if it engages. If it does not engage, there may be a problem with the fan relay.


Although the average vehicle uses the same fan for the radiator and A/C condenser, there are, however, some cars that use a  second unit for the condenser. In this case, the condenser fan and radiator fan might share the same relay.


You can check whether the relay is the culprit if the fan does not engage by swapping it out for another relay. There are a lot of relays that are almost identical to one another. You can obtain a new one in any automotive store. If the fan operates properly with the substitute relay, you will know the relay was the problem.


The relay coil’s resistance may also be the problem. The average relay’s resistance should read between 40 to 80 ohms. If the resistance is higher, the coil may have started to fail. If it is below 40 ohms, the relay is likely falling apart.


You can also shake the cooling fan relay and listen for any noises. If the armature is broken, it will rattle around the relay.


Getting Repairs Done

You will pay, on average, $80 to $160 to get a radiator fan relay replaced. If you need the entire fan replaced, it will cost between $300 and $400. 


If your engine overheats and other components in the car are damaged, you may end up paying quite a bit for repairs. If you do need repairs, you will have a few options for where to take the vehicle. 

Hire an Independent Mechanic

If you want to save money, but you do not have the time or skill to make the repairs yourself, you may want to hire an independent mechanic to do the work for you. These mechanics normally work out of their garage. You can find them on such sites as Craigslist and Angie’s List. 


It is probably not a good idea to take your car to such a mechanic for major repairs, but they should be able to do simple jobs like radiator fan relay replacement. 


Be sure to get references and a written price quote from the mechanic. You should also ask for a guarantee of the mechanics work in writing.

Going to the Dealership

If you take your car to the dealership, you can expect to pay twice the price that you would if you took it to an auto body shop. However, the dealership is almost certain to have any parts that your car might need, and the mechanics there will be certified in your make and model of car. having said that replacing a fan is not particularly difficult work and the vast majority of a professional auto mechanic should be up to the task.


Going to an Auto Body Shop

Most Americans like to go to an auto body shop for repairs. The mechanics easily accessible and the prices are lower than a dealership. Many chain auto body shops offer discounts for loyal customers. Auto body shops charge by the hour, so be sure to get a time estimate. 


You can find a list of approved auto mechanics on the AAA website. Be sure to ask how much experience your auto mechanic has with radiator fans and get an estimate in writing.


Selling Your Car

If you have been having a lot of problems with your car addition to the radiator fan relay going out, you may decide to sell your vehicle and get a new one. If you do,  you will have several options for unloading your old car. You can trade your old automobile into the dealership from which you buy your new ride. Read the final deal they offer you carefully. It is not uncommon for a dealership to give you good money for a trade-in and then stick that same amount of money on to the price of your new car. 


You could sell the car yourself, but that can be time-consuming and futile. Websites and newspapers will charge you a monthly fee to sell your car. If you sell your car this way you will be in competition with many other people. 


You will have to take time out of your day to show the car when you do get an interested buyer and they may decide not to take the car. You may have to show your car to multiple people before getting a buyer and they may not want to pay what you're asking. 


Sell Your Car to Us


Cash Cars Buyer is one of the best options you have when getting rid of a used vehicle. All you have to do is fill out our simple online form where we will ask you some basic information about your car. We will ask you for your name, email address, and phone number. We will also ask you for the make model, mileage, and year of your car. We are primarily interested in cars that were manufactured after 2000. 


If you sell your car to an individual online or if you use it as a trade-in you will have to have the pink slip. If you do not have the title, you will have to have it replaced at the DMV. It can take weeks to receive it in the mail. If you sell your car to us, no title should be no problem. Most ordinarily, we can accept just the registration and your license.


Once we get your information, we will call you right away with an offer. If you accept our offer, we will make an appointment to pick up your vehicle.


A staff member will come to your location, pay you in cash, and tow the automobile away for free. It really is just as easy as that.

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